Banana Bread for Giving or Keeping

This recipe made 6 small loaves . . . Beware those large bargain bags of marked down overripe bananas! That’s how this all started.

Three small loaves of banana bread on cooling rack.Here is a Banana Bread recipe that is easy to make for gifting . . .

or keeping to eat yourself.

Since it makes a big batch, you can give some and keep some!

This recipe brings back childhood memories and tastes. My Grandma used to bake this in Pringle’s cans and wrap it in repurposed orange Bunny Bread bags. I remember pulling the long refrigerator door handle to get the cold bread out. What a taste treat! Banana bread batter in 7 small loaf pans on top of the stove.I’ve taken my Grandma’s original recipe and tweaked it. One major tweak was a serious reduction of the sugar. Another tweak is to bake in conventional baking pans. I do not recommend baking in Pringle cans. This recipe revision turned out great and I hope it will earn a spot in your favorite recipe collection!

Cindy’s Banana Bread
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 overfilled cups smashed, over ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Banana bread batter in bowl with spoon.Mix all the ingredients. Put into greased and floured pans of choice. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of baking pans you use. Bake till nicely brown and done.Upside down loaf of banana bread and the empty pan on a cooling rack. The loaf is nicely brown.


To finely chop the walnuts, I used an antique Nut Meat Grinder. Antique nut meat grinder on table with bag of nuts, a bag of flour, and a cup measure in the background .I’ll be sharing another post on Forgotten Kitchen Gadgets soon and including this nut grinder in it. Of course, you can used pecans, black walnuts, or your nut of choice in this recipe.

The small loaf pans are nice to bake the bread in for gift giving or even portion control. This recipe made 6 small loaves with the pans filled 2/3. I made a seventh pan with the little bit of leftover batter that was our sample loaf.

Seven small loaf pans upside down on stovetop for drying after being hand washed and dried.Using small loaf pans makes multiple gifts but you do have more pans to clean. Here are a few pointers for cleaning those pans.
  1. Avoid letting the residue harden. Clean the pans while warm but not too hot to handle.
  2. If your pan has seams, clean the corners and any seams well. A toothpick will help scrap the gunk out.
  3. After washing, immediately dry your pans.
  4. After drying, place them upside down on the stovetop to take advantage of the heat from the cooling oven to finish the drying process.

You can also use muffin tins to bake this bread. I used a large size muffin pan that I found at a thrift store. Large muffin tin with baked banana bread still in it. Pan bakes 12 muffins.Don’t you just love those kind of finds! Use whatever size muffin tins you prefer. My second batch made 12 large muffins and 3 small loaves.

We didn’t plan to make banana bread for Christmas gifts but it just may be a new tradition for us. Beware those large bargain bags of marked down overripe bananas! That’s how this all started.

Five small loaf pans with banana bread baked in them and two small empty loaf pans on the stovetop.Six small loaves of nicely browned banana bread on two cooling racks.

Fabulous National Fast Food Day

We’ve shared a number of fast food favorites . . . , you always get OUR unbiased opinion . . . a structured down and dirty review . . . so you can decide if you wanna plan to patronize the establishment. Here’s to National Fast Food Day!

California Burger at J T Walker’sDid you know that November 16 is National Fast Food Day?

Yup, it gives us an excuse to indulge in our favorite fast food.

What’s your favorite fast food?

Ours would have to be a great hamburger with cheese and crispy french fries on the side. We’ve shared a number of fast food favorites as we checked them out. Of course, you always get OUR unbiased opinion as we pay for our food and give you a structured down and dirty review you can quickly absorb so you can decide if you wanna plan to patronize the establishment.Gronk’s Upside hamburger with french fries and cole slaw

So, in celebration of National Fast Food Day, here are links to some of our favorite burger blog posts in ranked order.

1. Giant Burger (review coming soon)

2. Gronk’s Grill & Bar

3. Big Mouth Burger Co.

4. Burger Barn

5. J.T. Walker’s

Of course, Whataburger must be mentioned in a fast food burger conversation. Whataburger is a Texas fast food chain and we love their burgers. Pick your burger and add toppings of your choice at an additional charge. Avocado is one topping I like to add. My husband’s favorite sandwich is the Monterey Melt. It is an ooey gooey cheesy burger with a spicy sauce. He adds an extra patty. Also, you can order junior sandwich versions instead of getting the large size. Two sizes of Whataburger sandwiches with packet of ketchupIf you’ve never eaten at Whataburger, be sure to add it to your travel list.

You can also make fast food at home — ala the good old peanutbutter and jelly sandwich. Change up your bread and jam choices to keep it interesting or to add a gourmet touch. Try crunchy peanutbutter on wheat bread with orange marmalade. Try sourdough bread with the pb and apple butter. Your choices are endless. Remember there is the grilled cheese that is quick and easy too!

Crinkle french fries cooked crispy from Burger Barn.I’d love to hear what your favorite fast food is. Feel free to share in the comments section. Also, please share this post with your favorite foodie. Here’s to National Fast Food Day!

USA National Bologna Day – October 24

Breakfast, lunch, supper, or a midnight snack give you plenty of opportunities to fit bologna in your day. Oh, and remember the cheese!

Butter and three pieces of browning bologna in cast iron skillet.Yeah, it’s National Bologna Day in the USA!

Did you know this lunch meat/sausage had a designated day? I didn’t until I found it with an online search. I’ve always thought it was spelled “bolognie.”

A piece of bread is on a plate with mayo and ketchup on it and a piece of fried bologna on top.Two slices of bread, a slice or two of bologna, and your favorite condiments make a great snack or centerpiece for a meal. You can make multiple sandwiches and cut them in triangles for appetizers! Serve it hot or cold — isn’t bologna versatile!

Oscar Meyer bologna packageBologna comes in the flat rounds in a thin or thick cut. You can also buy a ring of bologna and cut hunks off as you want to eat it. A ring of bologna and some cheese make what our family calls a “Peer Picnic” named after a family friend’s dining habits. Cut small round discs off the bologna ring and put on round crackers for a child size snack.

Fry bologna in butter or bacon fat for a hot sandwich. Three slices of bologna frying in a cast iron skillet with butter. The slices are bubbles up in the middle.If you fry it on one side only, you’ll make a bologna boat that you can fill with scrambled eggs. My husband enjoyed these bologna boats as a child. Thrive Life Freeze Dried mushrooms, onions, peppers, cheese, and sausage crumbles cooking in a cast iron skillet.We like to use Thrive Life freeze dried foods for a quick meal fix. Using their Scrambled Egg Mix, mushrooms, onions, peppers, cheese, and sausage crumbles we had a tasty meal in minutes.Three "bologna" boats filled with scrambled egg, veggie, and sausage crumble mixture on a plate.

School sack lunch or sub sandwich both offer reasons to put bologna to work. Roll it up with other lunch meats and lettuce if your watching carbs. You could also use a soft shell tortilla for your bologna sandwich. Mustard, ketchup, mayo, or Miracle Whip are condiments to compliment bologna. Oh, and remember the cheese!

Three pieces of fried bologna on a paper towel on a plate along with a fork.So, how are you gonna celebrate Bologna Day? Breakfast, lunch, supper, or a midnight snack give you plenty of opportunities to fit bologna in your day.

What is your favorite way to eat bologna?

P.S. If you like soup with your sandwich, take a look at “Start Your Freezer Soup Pot Today.”

End of Season Rhubarb Recipe

This end of season rhubarb recipe was an easy dessert to make with items I had on hand. Any complimentary fruits and spices can be used. Enjoy with your favorite toppings.

Rhubarb cobbler in blue baking dish with lid to the right side.It’s that time of year when frost is near and the end of rhubarb season is here.

So, I took advantage of those last stalks and made up a microwave cobbler recipe.

Here is the recipe guide I pioneered:

Cobbler filling:

  • Rhubarb
  • Freeze dried Pears
  • Freeze dried Raspberries
  • 2 large tablespoons maple syrup (or to your taste)
  • 1 stevia tablet
  • Hot water
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger


  • Rolled Rye
  • 5T butter

After harvesting, washing, and cutting the rhubarb, add your additional fruits of choice to your rhubarb. I used Thrive Life freeze dried pears and raspberries. Then add your sweeteners. I used maple syrup and one stevia tablet making sure there is enough water to dissolve the stevia tablet and to microwave the fruit. Also, I had enough water to reconstitute my freeze dried fruits. Next, add spices to taste and microwave on high until the rhubarb is tenderMixing bowl with rhubarb and added fruits, sweeteners, and spices.

For the topping,  melt 5 T of butter in the microwave and mix in enough rye to coat the rye with butter and not have it too dry. Microwave dish with rolled rye and butter in it. Measuring spoon and cup off the back perimeter.Microwave on power 8 for  for 3 minutes. Check the browning after 2 minutes has passed. You can microwave more to try and “crisp” up the rye but be careful not to get it too brown.

Put your fruit mixture in a small casserole dish and add the rye topping. Rhubarb and fruit mixture in blue casserole baking dish.Your topping can remain on top or you can choose to mix it in. Microwave on power 8 for 3 minutes. Check your dessert and decide if it should be microwaved a bit more.

This was an easy dessert to make with items I had on hand. Any complimentary fruits and spices can be used. You could use oatmeal instead of rye and choose to make more or less of the topping to suit your needs. You could even combine rye and oats. This would be a great recipe if you happen to have rhubarb in your freezer from your summer harvest!

Rhubarb and fruit cobbler in a bowl with ice cream, whipped cream, and a spoon.Enjoy your dessert with your favorite toppings. Whipped cream, ice cream, chocolate sauce, or caramel sauce. Also, nuts would be a nice addition either cooked in or as a topping. Have fun customizing your own microwave cobbler. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You get to eat the results and can improve your personal recipe next time around!

Just remember to write your recipe down.

Ways to Use Leftover Party Veggies

Don’t throw away your money — get creative with those party leftovers while they are still good.

Need ideas to use those leftover party veggies?Wonder Shredder on top of white bowl with shredded carrots in it. To the right of this is a plastic container with baby carrots and sliced red peppers.

Here you go . . .

Don’t you just hate to throw food away? No need, just get creative with those fresh veggie party leftovers and put them to good use. That’s just what I did.

Remembering those baby carrots and red bell pepper strips, I decided to microwave them and make a hot side dish. First, I shredded the baby carrots with my Wonder Shredder – a handy antique kitchen gadget. Next, I cut up the red pepper strips, mixed them with the carrots and microwaved until tender. Shredded baby carrots and cut up red peppers in bowl with spinach dip added on top but not stirred in yet. Lastly, I stirred in leftover spinach dip and heated a bit in the microwave. Ta Da, a quick and easy carrot side dish from party leftovers.Shredded baby carrots and cut up red peppers in bowl with spinach dip stirred in. The spoon is still in the bowl.




Other ways to use leftover, fresh party veggies could be:

*Soup or stew

*Garden medley of steamed veggies with cheese on top

*Shredded carrots in muffins, quick bread or cake

*Mushrooms and/or tomatoes in an omelet

Don’t throw away your money — get creative with those party leftovers while they are still good. What is your favorite way to use leftover party vegetables?

Oatmeal Cookies Customized Your Way

. . . is great for parties, tailgating, holidays, or just because you want to make comfort cookies on a rainy day. This recipe has been one of my cookie “staples” over the years.

Fresh baked chocolate chip rye cookies on 2 cooking racks on a table.Do you like a good oatmeal cookie?

If you do, here is an easy recipe that you can customize to your taste.

This recipe has been one of my cookie “staples” over the years. I loved it so much that I clipped it off a Cub Foods grocery pamphlet, taped it to a recipe card, and put a plastic sleeve over it. Do you write notes on the back of your recipe cards? I do to note any changes I make.Notes on back of 3 by 5 recipe card.Cut out recipe taped to 3 by 5 recipe card

This makes 6 dozen small cookies using a teaspoon to drop the dough. While I’m sharing the picture of the original, I will also type it below so you can read it.

Use your imagination with CHEWY OATMEAL COOKIES PLUS — Cream together 1 cup softened butter or margarine, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup brown sugar. Add 2 eggs and 1 tsp. vanilla. Combine 2 cups flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt; add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Beat in 2 1/2 to 3 cups rolled oats. Choose your own “plus” to add — 2 to 3 Tbsp. peanut butter — chopped nuts — chocolate, mint, peanut butter or butterscotch chips — raisins. Drop 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 10 minutes. Makes about 6 dozen.Mixing bowl with cookie ingredients partially mixed and waiting to stir in last ingredients.

As usual, I tweaked the recipe to use what I had on hand and to suit me. Here are the ingredients I used for this batch of cookies:
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp powdered vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup Einkorn flour
Slightly less than 1 tsp. baking soda
Omitted by mistake – 1 tsp baking powder
No salt added
3 cups rolled rye
1 cup dark chocolate chips

These cookies turned out great, even though I forgot the baking powder, and are chewy with the rolled rye. Of course, the dark chocolate is a taste treat when you bite into the cookie. When removing them from the baking sheet straight out of the oven, they were a bit fragile. They “set” once they are cool and aren’t as fragile. They were flatter than usual.Baked cookies on baking sheet with one row removed and spatula on the baking sheet.

I later made a second batch of these cookies with the rolled rye and included the baking powder. My husband likes the no baking powder version better. This batch was plumper.

This Chewy Oatmeal Cookie Plus is great for parties, tailgating, holidays, or just because you want to make comfort cookies on a rainy day. Customize your own batch and enjoy! Dark chocolate is my favorite add, what is your favorite add?

Rhubarb Bread Pudding

We were really pleased with how this Rhubarb Bread Pudding turned out. If you happen to have leftovers, I think it would be great eaten cold.

Rhuarb stalks in a large stainless steel bowl in background with knife on cutting board in foreground.It’s rhubarb time again!

This tart seasonal stalk will tickle your taste buds with a unique flavor. Rhubarb can be used to make cobblers, cakes, and jam. Why not bread pudding?

We decided to make bread pudding for our Sunday night church meal and to use rhubarb as we had an abundance of it. An abundance of rhubarb in front of a house with the big rhubarb leaves very prominent.Here is our crock pot recipe for Rhubarb Bread Pudding:

  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1  1/2 c cream
  • 1/2 tsp (each) cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg
  • Add more of the spices as desired
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 3 tiny spoons Pure Stevia
  • 2 c rhubarb pieces
  • 5  1/2 c cubed dried bread

Cut pieces of rhubarb in a large stainless steel bowl.Add the ingredients, one at a time, to a large bowl. Stir thoroughly after adding each ingredient. Note that you can use fresh bread torn in pieces, but dried bread soaks up more of the liquids. Fresh bread already has some moisture in it.

Cook the bread pudding in the crock pot on high until done. Check it periodically to see how it is cooking. Turn to the low setting if you think it is cooking too fast. We kept ours on high as we needed the pudding to cook within an afternoon. Signs of doneness can be when the pudding pulls slightly away from the side of the crock pot and when a knife inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. This is a moist dessert but you want it done. If all else fails, scoop out a sample to check it.

Recipe Notes:

  1. The Pure Stevia product  comes with a tiny spoon that is a preset measure.
  2. It is easy to make bread crumbs, but you need to plan ahead. Set out slices of bread on cooling racks or plates until they are dry and brittle. Cut or break up the dried bread into cubes or pieces.

We were really pleased with how this Rhubarb Bread Pudding turned out. It was a hit at dinner too! Rhubarb Bread Pudding in white crock pot dish about 2/3 empty with a spoon.There wasn’t a whole lot left when I remembered to take a picture so I could share it with you. You can enjoy this warm straight out of the crock pot, with whipped cream on top, or ice cream on the side! If you happen to have leftovers, I think it would be great eaten cold from the fridge.

More Forgotten Kitchen Gadgets

All of these gadgets can be found in antique stores. Part of the fun is finding them and then using them. I hope you’ll find some practical uses for one or two of these gadgets in your kitchen.

Pastry Blender in a bowl with flour, butter and brown sugar.Some forgotten kitchen gadgets are handy tools in the modern kitchen.

Still useful are the pastry blender, rolling pin, and hand held grater.

If you like to make pies from scratch and for whatever reason choose not to own a food processor, do yourself a favor and make sure you’ve got a pastry blender tool in your kitchen drawer. A pastry blender simplifies mixing the fat into your flour when making pie crust. It will help you get the flour and fat mixed and cut into the pea size pebbles you are after in the mixing process. Handheld pastry blender next to butter knife for scale.I find I need to use a knife to clean fat off the pastry blades until I get a good start on the mixing process. Also, if you use a high sided bowl, it minimizes getting flour all over your work surface. If you don’t have a pastry blender, you can get the same results with a knife and fork although it will take you longer. Just place the knife through the fork tines, drop the utensils into the oil and flour mixture and pull the knife through the fork tines. Raise the knife and fork and repeat. Move the knife and fork around in your bowl to keep cutting the oil or lard into bits. As you cut bits they will get coated with flour and after awhile your bits will be pea size. Your knife and fork substitute for the pastry blender.

Rolling pin next to butter knife for scale.A rolling pin can be used to roll dough out when making cookies, biscuits, or pie crust from scratch. It can also come in handy when wanting to flatten store bought biscuits or crescent dough. If you are new to using a rolling pin, note it is a skill that gets better with practice. Also, homemade pie crust carries that signature look that you did it yourself, and that is a good thing. The more you roll dough, the easier it becomes to push the dough where you want it to go with the thickness you want. Talking to seasoned pie makers to get tips and tricks for pie crust is a good idea. If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can substitute an object that has smooth sides, a reasonable width, and that will roll. Consider a glass bottle, water bottle, or an oil bottle. Remove any paper label and make sure the container will handle pressure as you don’t want to break the container and hurt your hands. I’ve used a glass bottle carefully when I needed a rolling pin. Maple is a popular wood choice for rolling pins. The small rolling pin on the cutting board with  the dough and cheese curds is made from Osage. You can choose from all sizes of rolling pins. croissant dough on cutting board with cheese curds on 1/2 of dough and rolling pin off to the sideYou also have a choice on your rolling pin handles. Some have handles that are integral with the pin and some have an axle that allows the body of the rolling pin to spin. Pete inherited an older, maple rolling pin from his Great Grandmother that I hijacked. It is ever so slightly oblong instead of round, but still does the job fine!

Two sizes of the Wonder Shredder (grater) with a butter knife between for scale. One grater does a fine shred and the other a medium shred.Pictured here are two sizes of grater called “Wonder Shredder.” Even if you have a food processor, these hand held gadgets are great if you only want to shred or grate a small quantity of something. Clean up is super easy too. Wash and dry when done. If you don’t have electricity or just want to simplify, these graters do the job. I’ve used them on cheese, zucchini, lemons, oranges, and apples.

All of these gadgets can be found in antique stores. Part of the fun is finding them and then using them. Make sure the pastry blender metal isn’t too bent out of shape or rusty. Check rolling pins for cracks and any warpage. Look for graters with the metal in good shape and rust free. I make it a point to clean these items right after using them so food doesn’t get a chance to dry on the gadget. Hand drying with a dish towel is a must after washing. Also, I don’t use dish soap on my rolling pin. Instead, I use hot tap water.

I hope you’ll find some practical uses for one or two of these gadgets in your kitchen. Check out the first Forgotten Kitchen Gadgets post, and be on the look out for a future post on more kitchen gadgets. What is your favorite kitchen gadget?

Forgotten Kitchen Gadgets

Need an excuse to hit the thrift stores or garage sales? Plan to add these handy gadgets to your kitchen.

Foley Food Mill on top of bowl with pureed peaches in bowl and peels in food mill.Some of these forgotten gadgets may bring back childhood memories of Grandma’s kitchen and delicious foods.

These kitchen tools may be antique or bought new, but they still earn their keep in the kitchen. It is time to dust them off and put them back to work!

Do you know about the Foley Food Mill? If your making jams, fruit butters, or any type of puréed foods, your gonna wanna use one of these. Why? Because it saves you time.

We recently made peach butter from over ripe peaches. Half bushel box of over ripe peaches.We washed the peaches, cut off any really bad spots, quartered and pitted the peaches, and put them in the pan to cook with some liquid. We didn’t peel them which saved a lot of time. When the peaches were tender, we ran them through the food mill. To operate the food mill you turn the crank which makes the blades turn and the blades push the food through the sieve holes in the bottom of the food mill. The skins stay in the bowl. After a bit, the skins clog the bowl. When this happens, you turn the crank handle in the opposite direction and the “gunk” is scraped from the bottom of the food mill bowl. Remove it and put in your compost or garbage. It’s that easy. If you are making applesauce, it’s ok to not worry about removing seeds prior to cooking the apples as the food mill will catch them. When all of your fruit is puréed, your ready to eat it or prep for your jam making. Our peaches prepared this way made a great peach jam — which really turned out closer to a butter. It was delicious! You can read more about our overripe peach workup at the “Foley Food Mill is your BFF for Making Jam” post. My husband has used the Foley with tomatoes, peaches, cherries, pears, apples, and plums.

You can buy the Foley Food Mill new online, but we like the older ones better. Keep your eyes open at thrift stores and garage sales. We’ve seen three sizes of food mill and prefer the medium size. (Note: the butter knife in gadget pictures is for size reference.) Foley Food Mills are easy to clean. There is a screw on the bottom that allows you to remove the handle/blade portion to separate it from the bowl. Wash and dry the food mill to prevent rust.

Another great kitchen tool is the potato masher. Pictured here is a galvanized cast iron version. Butter knife for scale and galvanized cast iron potato masher. Round masher bottom with many small holes in it.Mashers can also be made of heavy wire or a combination of wire and pressed metal. You use it to hand mash potatoes or turnips. You could also use it to mash cauliflower if you’re making mock potato salad for low carb or Keto. To use this tool, just mash it down on your cooked and drained vegetables over and over until you are satisfied with the consistency. Of course, you can add other ingredients like butter, milk, and spices and continue to mash. This tool works great for mashing vegetables in soups too. We have used it to stamp the top of Christmas fudge candy so we could tell the orange chocolate pieces from other flavors. The light stamp left little “o’s” on the fudge. When you use this, clean it right away. You do not want dried food in those holes. Use a tooth pick if needed to scrap each hole. Dry the masher to prevent rust.Butter knife for scale and small and medium sized glass custard cups, one each.

The third and last forgotten gadget in this post is the humble custard cup. Note, I’ll be sharing more forgotten kitchen gadgets in a future post. My introduction to the custard cup came in my one required college cooking class. We used custard cups to premeasure ingredients. Then, when it was time to mix a recipe, adding ingredients flowed easily. Now, occasionally, I will premeasure things like spices or vanilla. In this cooking class I also learned to make pop overs and we baked them in glass custard cups. Popovers are an easy treat to make.

Two small custard cups with vanilla ice cream topped with homemade peach butter and a spoon in each cup.We usually use custard cups and little bowls to eat snacks and desserts from. They are a nice portion size. The picture showcases our homemade peach butter on vanilla ice cream — yum! Currently, I have 2 sizes on my kitchen shelf: small and medium. I have had the large, cereal bowl size in the past. You can trip across glass custard cups at thrift stores and garage sales. I prefer them in glass but I think I’ve seen plastic ones at discount retailers. Pyrex and Fire King are nice brands I have used. Also, the small cups are great for item catchers in drawers or on counters. Put rings and other jewelry you want to temporarily take off and not lose in these cups.

In summary:

Foley Food Mill: purée fruits, easier jam prep
Potato Masher: mash vegetables in soup or to prep mashed dishes
Glass Custard Cups: premeasure food ingredients, portion control, item catchers, bake popovers

Need an excuse to hit the thrift stores or garage sales? Plan to add these handy gadgets to your kitchen. Both the food mill and masher are great if you are someplace without access to electricity.
What is your favorite forgotten kitchen gadget?

Chess Pie Bars Almost Like Pecan Pie But Easier

These bars would be great for a summer picnic or reunion, a quick fix dessert, or a “just because I feel like baking day.” They are delicious but very sweet!

Chess Pie Bars in pan cut in 1 x 1" squares.Chess Pie Bars

As promised, I am sharing this Chess Pie Bar recipe with you.

I intended to share it sooner but life gets in the way. The backstory to these bars began when I made a Chess Pie from Colonel Sanders recipe booklet, and we tripped across a lady selling Chess Pie Bars at a gas station. The pie is a fabulous and tasty comfort food and the bars were delicious. I decided to find a Chess Pie Bar recipe and figured it would take awhile. However, when I checked my *Farm Journal’s Homemade Pies, Cookies, & Bread cookbook, it had the recipe! I just needed to find an occasion to make them so I could share with you.Picture of cookbook: Farm Journal's Homemade Pies, Cookies & Bread By the Food Editors of Farm Journal.

With an upcoming potluck, this was a perfect time to try out this recipe. As you know, I mostly follow the recipe and make changes as I want to. My changes for Chess Pie Bars were: using Einkorn Flour instead of white flour, coconut sugar (the 1/2 cup for the filling) instead of white sugar, and 1 cup of pecans instead of 1/2 cup.Picture of Chess Pie Bars from cookbook.

These bars were easy to make and can be done without any electric kitchen tools. I made sure my butter was up to room temperature, and it was easy to use my hand pastry blender to make the crust.Pastry Blender in a bowl with flour, butter and brown sugar. I did have to use a knife to scrap goop off the pastry blender during the mixing process. Also, I ended the mixing with a fork to finely blend the ingredients. Crust mixture in a bowl with a fork for the fine blending of ingredients.When pressing the dough into your 13 x 9 x 2″ pan, note that is spreads real thin but bakes up nicely.Baked crust for Chess Pie Bars in 9 x 13" pan

As I noted in my recipe changes, I doubled the pecans. It just seemed to me that this would make a better bar, and I like lot of nuts. If you do this, I recommend you cut the nuts small so it is easier to cut the finished bars. The batter was easy to stir by hand. I would recommend using a fork to break up any hard sugar lumps before adding liquid to the sugars. I used my crust mixing bowl for the batter as no new ingredients were introduced to the bowl that would cause cross contamination with flavors. To the melted butter I added the sugars, milk, flour, and eggs. I then mixed this by hand removed any hard sugar lumps by squishing them between my fingers (thus my recommendation for you to do this before). Last, I stirred in the pecans. Chess Pie Bar filling mixture in a bowl with a mixing fork.

Watch your bars closely when baking for the golden brown. You don’t want to overbake. I cooled my bars down but chose to cut while still warm. Of course, we had to sample them and they were good! When mixing the batter, I had tasted it and it was real sweet. The crust helps mitigate the sweetness but this is a very sweet bar. Pouring of Chess Pie Bar batter onto crust in 9 x 13" baking pan with a spatula.Almost like pecan pie but in a very thin bar. Deciding to cut these bars into about 1″ x 1″ squares netted 48 bars. They are delicious but very sweet! They are also sticky, so line your storage container with waxed paper and also put it between bar layers.

Cut Chess Pie Bars on purple plate.These bars would be great for a summer picnic or reunion, a quick fix dessert, or a “just because I feel like baking day.” (#feellikebaking) I hope you’ll give them a try, share them, and enjoy them. Is there a favorite pie you love that you make in a bar version? I’d love to hear what you enjoy.Baked Chess Pie Bars in 9 x 13 cake pan.

*Farm Journal’s Homemade Pies, Cookies, & Bread, By the Food Editors of FARM JOURNAL, Greenwich House, Distributed by Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, 1983 edition.Open cookbook in background with flour, brown sugar and butter in mixing bowl with pastry blender on outside of bowl.



P.S. Did you notice the waffles to the side of the baking pan in the batter pouring picture? Be sure to check out the Raspberry Sausage Waffles post.


Raspberry Sausage Waffles

The waffles were heavy, as was expected. You could smell the raspberries as the waffles cooked, . . . There was a very light sausage flavor. This recipe made 12 waffles. . . freeze the leftovers for a quick meal later.

Raspberry Sausage Waffles piled on a plate.Raspberry Sausage Waffles

We get a hankering for waffles every now and then. We enjoy having them for supper most of the time over breakfast. I grabbed the good old trusty Better Homes and Garden cookbook. This is one of the best overall cookbooks to keep in your pantry."Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book" cover with red and white checked table cloth type background.

As usual, I don’t follow directions. Instead of nasty old white flour, I used whole wheat.  Remember, you will need to add a little extra water when using whole wheat. The recipe also called for the eggs to be separated. If your gonna have both parts in the mix, why waste the time. It’s already gonna be heavy from using whole wheat flour.Picture of Waffle recipe.

Cindy soaked a cup of Thrive Life Freeze Dried Sausage Crumbles. Thrive Life freeze dried sausage crumbles and raspberries reconstituted in a bowl with a spoon in it.To this, I added about a half of a cup of Thrive Life Freezed Dried Raspberries. I then dumped this into the waffle batter.

The waffles were heavy, as was expected. You could smell the raspberries as the waffles cooked, but could not really taste them in the waffles. There was a very light sausage flavor.Raspberry Sausage Waffle batter in a bowl with spoon.

The waffle texture was good, and it was very flavorful. We used our freshly made peach butter to cover the waffles. Next time we will do the sausage mixed with Thrive Life Freezed Dried Mangos. That just sounds like a great combination.

Two waffles in waffle maker. This recipe made 12 waffles. We freeze the leftovers for a quick meal later.

If you do not have a copy of this cookbook, I recommend that you pick one up. I remember my mom having this cookbook when I was a kid. My mom gave Cindy our copy for a wedding shower over 35 years ago. We also gave a copy to our son and his wife when they got married.

Picture of "Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book" inside page with copyright and publisher information.Remember the cooking rule of thumb: never follow the directions.

By Pete AveryRaspberry Sausage Waffles piled on a plate.

Foley Food Mill is Your BFF for Making Jam

The beauty of using the FFM (Foley Food Mill) is that you get the pulp without having to peel your fruit before cooking it. While you can buy new Foley Food Mills, our experience had been that the older ones work better. We always keep an eye out for them.

Foley Food Mill on top of bowl with pureed peaches in bowl and peels in food mill.There are a few tried and true kitchen gadgets that earn their keep on your shelf.


The Foley Food Mill is definitely a must have for making jams, applesauce, and puréed foods.

We recently put ours to good use when we purchased a half bushel box of over ripe Freestone peaches. We gleaned the ones we could eat over the next few days and prepped the rest for cooking. Half bushel box of over ripe peaches.We washed, cut off bad spots, took out the pits and cut the peaches into chunks. We didn’t have to cut in small pieces with using the Foley Food Mill (FFM). We then cooked the peaches till tender. These peaches had a lot of liquid so we took out extra while cooking the peaches. We added it later to the pulp before making the peach jam.

To make the pulp you run the cooked peaches through the food mill by turning the handle. The handle cranks the blade which smushes the contents through the sieve holes. The pulp is what comes through the sieve holes leaving the fruit skin or peels in the food mill bowl. Occasionally you need to crank the handle backwards which scraps the peels off the sieve surface. You can remove the peels from the bowl before adding more cooked peaches to begin the process again. Continue until all your cooked fruit is turned into pulp. If you are running cooked apples through the mill, the peels and seeds get caught in the food mill bowl. Thus, you only clean, quarter and cook the apples. The Foley Food Mill is a fantastic time saver!

Large pan with steam rising from pan of cooking peaches. A large spoon is in the pan.The beauty of using the FFM is that you get the pulp without having to peel your fruit before cooking it. Once you have the pulp, you can go on to making your sauce or jam.

We made peach jam with our pulp. It turned out great and was almost a peach butter without all the extra work. Of course cinnamon was added to it! We used different sugars for each batch. We tried turbinado, coconut sugar, brown sugar, and white sugar. We liked the coconut sugar the best. It was a fuller, richer, molassessy taste. We also used the pulp to put in our protein shakes.Peach pulp after being run through Foley Food Mill in a large bowl with large spoon on top.

We use canning wax to seal the jam. Melt canning wax and pour at least 1/4 inch of wax on top of the still warm to hot jam filled jars. Let cool completely before placing lids on jars. As you know from reading my posts, Pete doesn’t always follow directions. The recipe that we used for this jam came with the package of fruit pectin. But, Pete used it more as a guide. Thus the wiggle room on the temp of the jam for wax sealing.Peach Jam in pint, half pint and quarter pint jars with white plastic lids.

For the backstory during our jam making, be sure to check out my blog about Managing when Your AC is Being Repaired. We bought the box of over rip peaches because it was such a deal compared to buying a small bag of peaches. However, upon returning home with the over ripes, we discovered the AC was broken. We persevered and got the peaches worked up over several days even without AC. We did the work in the evening knowing it would be cooling down a bit at night.

A couple of last thoughts for you about the Foley Food Mill. The bottom screw comes undone to separate the bowl from the crank/blade combo. This makes for easier cleaning. While you can buy new Foley Food Mills, our experience had been that the older ones work better. We always keep an eye out for them and keep a few on hand to give to folks we know. You can be on the look out for them at antique stores and garage sales and often get them for a couple of bucks. Happy hunting and jam making!Peaches cooking with a rolling boil on stove with stirring spoons in pan.